Two state-of-the-art missile systems were unveiled at the Dubai Airshow 2019
Prasun K. Sengupta
The Dubai Airshow 2019, which took place at Dubai’s World Central Airport from November 17 to 21, saw the Indian military-industrial contingent being led by the Indian Air Force’s Vice Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Harjit Singh Arora. Indian exhibitors at the expo included Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL).
Making its worldwide public debut was Saab’s GlobalEye, described as a multi-sensor swing-role surveillance system that uses the Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft, for which the UAE Air Force is the launch customer. The GlobalEye houses an Erieye-ER S-band active phased-array radar in a ski-box fairing above the fuselage for performing airborne early warning and control missions, while a belly-mounted Leonardo Seaspray 7500E multi-mode active phased-array radar is used for maritime surveillance.
In addition, there is an optronic sensor suite. An initial order for two GlobalEyes was formalised at the 2015 Dubai Airshow, and a third aircraft was added in February 2017. As part of the service entry process, UAE personnel have begun training in Sweden on the GlobalEye and its mission systems, and some elements of the extensive ground support equipment suite have already been delivered. The UAE Air Force has been operating two Saab 340 AEW & C platforms for the past few years, with each of them featuring a forerunner of the Erieye-ER radar. Saab continues to market the GlobalEye to a number of potential customers, including the air forces of Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea.
Aviation Industries of China (AVIC) used the expo to unveil a full-scale mock-up of its U8EW rotary-wing unmanned air system (RWUAS). It was last shown as a scale-model at the 2018 Singapore Airshow. The RWUAS has been developed by the China Helicopter Research & Development Institute (CHRDI) and is manufactured by Changhe Aircraft Industries Corp (CAIC). The U8EW is an armed version of the unarmed U8-E and it was displayed with a pair of 16kg TL-2 laser-guided air-to-surface missiles carried on outrigger pylons. The TL-2 has a range of 6km. With a maximum take-off weight of 1,100 pounds, the U8EW can carry a payload of 330 pounds. A range of sensors is available for fitment, including synthetic aperture radar and signals intelligence systems. The U8EW full-scale mock-up was shown with an optronic turret for reconnaissance and targeting. As well as guided-missiles, the U8EW can also carry pod-mounted machine guns. Operating completely autonomously, the U8EW has an eight-hour endurance on reconnaissance missions, a figure that drops to six hours when carrying weapons. According to AVIC, the RWUAS can be deployed and launched within 30 minutes.
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